Mini Cinnamon Rolls

This was my very very first time ever trying to make cinnamon rolls. I didn’t realize when I started this recipe that they weren’t going to be full sized cinnamon rolls though which was disappointing!

The recipe is pretty basic and I was able to make it very quickly. But, every other aspect of this recipe is what made it take around 6 hours to complete! Ahhh! ~~

The dough had to go through two separate risings! First by itself before being rolled out.

I let the dough rise until it had about tripled in size.

After the first rising, I made my filling and got ready to roll out my dough.

Making the filling was way easier than rolling out the dough .. and It was a lot easier than adding the filling to the dough!

I tried to use Paul Hollywood’s rolling technique. Always go from the middle out, try to start your dough in a similar shape to what you need to roll it out into, and move your dough to be sure it doesn’t stick to the board. This helped!

I ultimately got a ruler and then cut my dough into similar sizes. I then separated my filling in two and added it to the dough in the middle.

 

I used a silicone spatula to spread out the filling and I tried to make it even. Clearly I did a better job with the roll on the right side but that is okay!

Now the below photo confuses me … there are four rolls … Did I roll out four pieces of dough? I only have pictures of two pieces of dough at a time so I’m not sure! I’ll assume I did and that I didn’t magically duplicate my dough? I guess that would be for the best.

 

It was important for this recipe to roll the dough length wise (hot dog style for us previous elementary students in the ’90s). But, I wished I had just rolled it up the other way (hamburger style) and made thick cinnamon rolls! Oh, why didn’t I notice that before!!

After rolling them, I think they went in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up a bit before being cut. I’m not sure it helped. My rolls were little triangles.

Thankfully, they all fit in my larges baking dish and that is when they needed their second rest period.

After the second period of resting, I got to put them in the oven to bake! Yay, I had made it so far with this project. I really should just stick with cookies, haha =p

I refused to have under baked cinnamon rolls so I left them in there about 5 minutes longer than I was comfortable with and it was worth it!

Oh, I lined my baking dish with parchment paper before baking. I don’t really like to use oil/spray because I can taste it and I don’t want to use butter/flour because I feel like it doesn’t do a good job so I’m a parchment girl, always!

I made about 3/4 a cup of icing (powdered sugar, cold water, vanilla extract) to drizzle on top. I should have done more! I’d have rather had it flooding down the sides than lightly coating the rolls! Now I know!

The extra few minutes paid off! The cinnamon rolls tore apart nicely and they looked great on the inside! This was absolutely not worth the effort though! I could have read an entire book during the time it took me to make these!

Not sure I’ll ever make cinnamon rolls again, if I do though, I’ll for sure post about it! haha!

 

Graduation Cake

The whole week leading up to my graduation party I kept thinking “I want to make a nice fluffy yellow cake from scratch”. It was a nice thought. Ultimately, I bought 4 packages of the below chocolate cake mix.

Clearly, this resulted in a chocolate cake not a yellow one. But it was easier and, unfortunately, it was also a lot more expensive since each mix is about $6~ ><

Though the mix itself is vegan, I used powdered milk instead of almond milk which means my cakes aren’t vegan … but since my frosting is made with real butter and there were only going to be vegetarians (and of course individuals who eat meat too) at the party and not vegans, I thought this was okay.


Something else I like about this mix that is not typical is that the mix specifically states that it is nut free which is great for my nephews! Again, this isn’t a problem if I make it by hand as I know not to add products with nuts, thankfully!

I made the cake in two 9″x13″ cake tins. Meaning, this is the biggest cake I have ever made! Ever, ever! That’s pretty cool =)

I was very lucky that my layers turned out quite flat after baking! Therefore, I didn’t need to do any trimming, yay!

So, I think it was because I was watching a movie on Netflix while I made this that I didn’t plan properly with the frosting. I made the plain buttercream first and did a sort of crumb coat, the thickest crumb coat of my life!

I tried to make it as square as possible but I realized when I put on the blue layer that I could have done a better job of smoothing down my square-ness. It would have helped!

And, I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like all plain blue! Why?? But it was at that point that I realized my mistake. The cake was quite heavy now since it had about 3.5lbs of buttercream frosting on it and it was still on my cutting board!

I had to borrow my husband from the other room and use two spatulas (plus my clean hands) to lift it up off of the cutting board and onto the cardboard cake board.

Then I made a bright yellow buttercream for the decorations. Unfortunately, I didn’t make enough, because I was out of butter, so I had to go to the grocery store to get more butter and then make more frosting! This was getting insane ….

Right along with my cookie icing skills, I need to work on my cake decorating skills. Thankfully 4th of July is coming up so maybe I can practice on a patriotic cake? Hmmmm

So, there it is the night before!

And, below is what it looked like after being eaten! I think everyone was impressed (? not sure if that is the right term as they were also slightly confused) by the amount of frosting. I certainly enjoyed it! I passed some of it to my grandparents, some to my parents and kept a small amount for myself. My grandma said she froze hers so it’ll last longer ><

I am definitely proud of this cake! I spent about 5~ hours on it and I don’t think I could have gotten a better one for the same price anywhere =)

I’ll be posting more cookies and an apple pie pretty soon… I also have to make an attempt at a Lemon Meringue pie before my lemons go bad! I can do it! =)

Graduation Cookies: 2017

I’m so excited to have finally graduated with my Master’s degree, yay! After the commencement ceremony, I had some family over to celebrate and for the occasion I made cookies and cake!


My plan was to make 2017 cookies because that is the year I am graduating! I had to order a set of number cookie cutters as I didn’t have any >< I bought these and they worked great!

So, I perfectly cut out all of the 2017 that I wanted and then baked them! When pulling them out of the oven, I accidentally squashed one of my 7s! Oh no!

So, I made a batch of stars and one more 7 with my remaining sugar cookie dough.

Thankfully, sugar cookies stay relatively the same size when you bake them so they didn’t spread and I was able to fit the extra cookie on the same sheet.

To decorate my stars, I used some of my remaining butter cream frosting from my cake! Since I froze the cookies after, the frosting hardened well!

But, for my 2017 cookies, I wanted to use cookie icing. I didn’t make a royal icing, though I somewhat wished I had.

So, I used a #4 tip (pretty sure) to do the exterior piping and I tried to make it a bit thicker … It was messy >< I definitely need to practice this some more!

My flood icing was a little bit darker than my piping icing but I think they looked well together!

The icing hardened well but it was a warm day and we had the food outside for the party so they somewhat melted together!! Oh well! They tasted good, I wish I had kept some for myself instead of sending them all home with family ><

I also made some of my favorite chocolate chip + oreo cookies too. I did keep some of these!

Next post will be my super amateur graduation cake! =p

May 2017 Puppy and Kitten Pics ~~

Though June is half way over, I wanted to post some pictures from last month that I didn’t have time to post sooner ~~

At night, we give the puppies their own beds to sleep on. But, once we’re awake we have to take the beds away and just leave a blanket. We do this because Dottie will pee on the dog beds! She does not seem to be a well adjusted kitten! Humphrey clearly thinks he is a dog too and therefore will often nap alongside Penny and Lucy.

Lucy was never really into shoes and has only really chewed on about 4 pairs. But, she apparently she took a liking to my red Toms (since I left them under my desk) and decided to eat the toe! I haven’t tossed them out yet though I probably should. This picture also shows the damage that Sweetie did to the side of my chair years ago, the chair still works and we have even more cats now though so I don’t want to replace it! haha

Sweetie likes to nap on my Husband’s chair when she is shut out of the bedroom (we have to keep the bedroom door shut because, again, Dottie will pee on the bed). Sometimes Sweetie wants to play between naps and will swat at Penny’s face! Penny is confused by this because it doesn’t hurt and seems rather mean of Sweetie. Penny will often look at my during these times to be sure everything is okay, she is a very kind doggy!

And, lastly, we had a bug flying around in our bathroom! Humphrey (the two leg standing one) made a nice reflection in the mirror while looking for the bug. Dottie (the four leg standing one), kept moving around the bathroom over and over chasing it as fast as she could! It was pretty cute. The did not catch the bug.

DIY Patio Extension ~

In April, I decided to take the bit of dirt between the edge of our official patio and our shed and make another patio! ^^

The space was almost exactly 10′ by 10′ except on the left side where a forgotten sidewalk (from who knows when) jets into the space.

Removing the grass was easy! Removing the dirt was a pain in the butt! I dug out about 4 inches of dirt across the entire space to be sure I could get the ground level enough.

The dirt pile was enormous! I used as much as I could filling in every possible hole in our yard but we had so much left over!

My Dad offered to take some (my Mom says he hasn’t done anything with it yet ><)

It filled up the back of his SUV!

Once the dirt was cleared, I started adding in the sand. Penny and Lucy helped! ~~

I used about 12 bags to put a layer of sand between 1″ and 2″ in the space. Then I laid down a weed barrier. Oddly it was windy day in Southern California in Spring (not usually the time of year for that) when I tried to lay down the weed barrier.

Penny and Lucy loved to walk around on the weed barrier and nap on it too! They looked cute but it was quite counter productive!

I had no idea how to put these stone pavers together at first. Really, no clue! I was putting them here and there … and then I sent a pic to my husband who informed me that there was a pattern and that I should be following it!

It took some back and forth over text but he managed to explain the pattern to me and thankfully I finally understood! I ended up numbering the sides with chalk so I could pair them up easily.

It was at this point that we decided I should probably remove the sprinkler head (over by the bucket in the picture). So, I pulled out some pavers and dug it up! Caped it and then refilled the hole!

That was fun little excursion during the middle of the project!

We cut stones to fit around the edges and give the space a cleaner look! Then I filled in the gaps with polymeric sand! I used almost 3 buckets of this stuff and I was worried it would all rinse away when I watered the grass! But, apparently this type of sand hardens in place! Yay!

I really enjoyed this project! And, I’ve benefited from the additional outdoor space quite a bit already! It’s a great spot to sit and relax while looking into the yard at Penny and Lucy napping ^^

Peanut Butter Cookies: With Chips and Without

Not sure what Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe I used here but it wasn’t anything special, just a normal cookie recipe!

Like I usually do, I used my cookie batch in more than 1 way! I did half of them traditionally with the square pattern. And, the other half I did with peanut butter chips mixed in!

For the plain cookies, I tried to make them pretty uniform in shape. I also made them into little disks before putting them on the cookie sheet and then using my largest fork on them =p

Darn, no before picture of the peanut butter chip version!

Yum!

So glad I’m able to put some time towards posting a few pictures this week! My comprehensive exam and MBA graduation are over! I officially have a Master’s degree! So, I’ll be spending my time baking while looking for that awesome new career! ~~

Quick Cookie Batch ~

I had purchased some Easter colored M&M candies to be used during Easter … then I forgot about them!

Sometime in May, I “found” them and decided to make some cookies before a long day of studying!

This is the same cookie recipe I used last time with the melted butter, I just heated this butter in the microwave though, don’t have all day =p


I did half with the M&Ms and the other half with a bag of White Chocolate chips that were old .. not sure how old but I was sure they needed to be used up!

When I baked them, I did some on Oreo cookies (my personal specialty) and some just plain (normal) =)

I like how cute the little cookie dough balls look on top of the Oreos. Very adorable ^^

They were delicious! I think this batch lasted about a week between my husband and myself and my Dad! ~~